9 Dec 2013

US oyster farmers tell how ocean acidity destroying livelihood

8:17 am on 9 December 2013

A shellfish scientist says a presentation from commercial oyster farmers from the United States last week should be a wake up call for everyone involved in aquaculture.

The shellfish industry on the US north-west coast has been hard hit by a severe deep ocean upwelling that is bringing very water so acidic that it stops shellfish forming shells.

Cawthron Institute shellfish researcher Dr Norman Ragg says it's being driven by climate change with oceans taking in more carbon dioxide.

Dr Ragg says hearing how the American oyster farmers have reacted was profound.

Because of the impact of the acidification problem, he says, the "down to earth" oyster farmers who by their own admission are "definitely not environmentalists" are doing everything they can to minimise their own personal carbon footprints and that of their companies.